Blue Ridge Christian News

[The following article was published in the 'Carolina Christian News' newspaper]

The "The Blind Side" movie and the adoption of American foster children

By Ed Rosella

I was asked to share my impressions of the movie "The Blind Side" because my wife and I have adopted three siblings, and I regularly speak in churches about the need to adopt foster children. I believe this film has great potential to inspire more families to adopt the many American foster children who are still waiting to be adopted.

"The Blind Side" is a true story about a wealthy, white family who took in a near-homeless African-American foster child, Michael Oher ("Big Mike"). Through their love and commitment, Michael's life was turned around; he began to fulfill his potential in life, school, and eventually as a football player. (He currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens.) However, this film is not predominately about football; it's about the impact that love had on Michael as well as the family that adopted him. Michael's healing began when he found the acceptance of a family - especially his new mom.

When I viewed the movie, I took along the best critics I know - my three adopted teenagers; I knew they'd tell me exactly what they thought. One of my daughter's said, "The movie encourages people to hold onto their dreams." My other daughter said, "The story touches hearts. It was sad to see what happened to Michael's birth mom, but it was good that a Christian lady adopted him." My son said, "It taught me that loving can be hard, but you need to do what is right. The rich family could have sent "Big Mike" to a different place with their money, but they did the hard thing by taking him into their home."

"The Blind Side" reminded me that God prepares special opportunities in our daily lives when we encounter people in need. What we decide to do in those moments will change our lives and the life of someone else. When Leigh Anne Tuohy was faced with deciding to help a teenage boy who was wet, cold and in need, she chose to put her Christian faith into practice. That decision forever changed her life and the future of her adopted son.

Michael Oher's story puts a face on the many unnamed foster children who are hidden in our communities. It also shows the tragedies that await them when there's nobody to intervene. Foster children have many talents and abilities locked away in their hearts. God can bring these gifts out through the love and commitment of adoptive parents. When Michael found the security of a mother's love, he began to open up and blossom - this was the key to unlock his many gifts.

The movie only shows a few of the issues that parents and foster children need to work through when a child is brought into a new family. I don't think it showed enough of the realities and struggles that adoptive families face. However, this doesn't seem to be the aim of the movie and doesn't detract from its powerful message.

During one of the film's special moments, the father asked Michael if he wanted to be part of their family. His response was, "I thought I already was." He didn't need to be officially part of their family to feel that he was already welcome. This story shows the amazing parental love that God can put in your heart for someone who is not your biological child.

In our country, where many foster children are considered "hard to place" because of the color of their skin or their age, this movie blows away those excuses. It shows how beautiful it is when a white family adopts a black child, or when a family adopts an older child.

I really hope that this movie will highlight the plight of American foster children. There are over 100,000 children still waiting to be adopted in America. This film has the potential to encourage many more families to open up their homes to give hope to American orphans.